Mission and History

Mt. Vernon Manor’s mission is to provide affordable housing, encourage residents to nurture caring families, and champion a robust and sustainable environment and quality of life in West Philadelphia. Mt. Vernon Manor strives to cultivate safe and accessible West Philly neighborhoods for both longtime and newly arrived residents by pursuing strategic projects and partnerships that advance affordable housing opportunities, cultivate green and open space, enhance economic mobility, and improve public health and safety in our communities. We aim to help residents realize a shared vision of equitable development without displacement and ensure that our community remains diverse, inclusive, and welcoming to all.

Mt. Vernon Manor CDC has been a trusted provider of affordable housing in West Philadelphia for over 40 years. When local leaders formed the Mt. Vernon Manor CDC in 1977, its primary purpose was to provide safe, high-quality affordable housing to Mantua—a predominately Black community in West Philadelphia. To accomplish that goal, Mt. Vernon Manor renovated and began stewarding 125 apartments across eastern Mantua. Forty years later, we revitalized 121 of our affordable units through a $29 million public-private partnership—one of our largest initiatives to date. In 2019, after learning of the possible sale of a local affordable housing complex, we once again worked with city, state, and federal agencies to save and renovate 29 apartments as permanently affordable rental units. We named this redevelopment the “Mantua Preservation Project”—a reflection of our long-standing commitment to our community. Our units currently provide affordable housing to over 300 Mantua residents with incomes between 20-60% of AMI.

In 2011, Mt. Vernon Manor CDC was awarded a $250,000 HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grant to lead the development of a neighborhood plan. Published in 2013, The We Are Mantua! Neighborhood Transformation Plan identified key equitable development priorities, established lines of communication between residents and investment entities, and continues to catalyze trauma-informed civic engagement initiatives. In 2013, MVMCDC was awarded the Opportunity & Empowerment Award by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association for our work on the We Are Mantua! Neighborhood Transformation Plan. From 2014-2017, we partnered with the Mantua Civic Association to launch a neighborhood re-zoning initiative that preserved long-standing single-family occupancy and open-space stewardship. After decades of exclusionary zoning—and under new threats of real estate speculation—we worked with local leaders to align the zoning code with the needs of Mantua residents.

MVMCDC also owns and maintains a number of neighborhood greenspaces. Our largest greenspace, the Mantua Urban Peace Garden allows residents to grow and share healthy, organic produce and recreate outdoors. Additionally, our Ready, Set, Green! land care program employs dozens of Mantua residents facing criminal justice system-based employment barriers to landscape hundreds of vacant lots around West Philadelphia. By investing in the joint well-being of our land and neighbors, our open-space initiatives reflect our intersectional commitment to housing, economic, and racial justice.

In 2015, Mt. Vernon Manor became a City-designated Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC) office. Our NAC office low-income residents access rental aid programs, utility funds, home repair subsidies, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Crisis benefits, and property tax payment plans. In conjunction with our affordable housing development work, these critical services help West Philadelphia residents remain—and live safely—in their homes.

Learn more about Mount Vernon Manor’s previous initiatives, programs, and community engagement as featured in the news here!



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